tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 12, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
it has no less than half of a u.s. population, that's 124 million people, are under a heat advisory tonight. more than 26 million of them are enduring excessive heat. nbc's mara schiavocampo is sweating it out. mara? >> reporter: it's not just the heat. it's the humidity. here in st. louis, temperatures reached 102 degrees but it felt like 115. that's happening all across the country and it's not just uncomfortable, it's downright dangerous with the heat being blamed for at least six deaths so far. it's the summer sizzle that just
won't stop. >> good afternoon, everyone. it's hot. >> reporter: but this heat just continuing to stay right over us. >> heat advisory in effect across most of oklahoma. >> half of the country is broiling under a scorching sun with no immediate relief in sight. in oklahoma city, each new day is as bad as the last, with almost two straight weeks of triple-digit heat. dallas topped 100 degrees for 11 days in a row. high school football players working to stay hydrated. >> if it's not hot it's not st. louis. >> reporter: and in the gateway city, these residents knew it would be another scorcher. >> as soon as you walk out you know it's going to be one of those days. >> reporter: in many cases the heat is adding insult to injury, causing drought conditions to intensify in the south and creep up to mid-atlantic states. monday morning in chicago, summer thunderstorms knocked out power to almost a million people at a time when air conditioning can be critical. now, the east coast is starting
to feel the heat. advisories have been issued from georgia to connecticut, with temperatures feeling like 105 degrees. in new york city, some were dressed for the weather. >> i was in las vegas last week and it was 117. so 95 is -- >> reporter: others looked like they just might melt. >> you have a cooling fan in there? >> reporter: but the heatwave is more than just uncomfortable. it's dangerous. >> the elderly and infants are at significantly increased risk for developing heat illness, as are many people on certain medications. >> reporter: the hottest place in the country today, owensboro, kentucky, where heat index was a staggering 123 degrees and for many of these hot spots there's no relief any time soon. ann? >> thank you so much, mara schiavocampo reporting there. weather channel meteorologist chris warren joins us now. chris, with 677 tornados in april alone this is the
deadliest year since 1936, not to mention these floods and this heatwave. what explains this, chris? >> ann, during the springtime, we were stuck in a very active spring pattern. now that it's summer we're stuck in an active and persistent summer pattern with a big ridge of high pressure entrenched over the middle part of the country. the good news is we have relief on the way for the northeast by the end of the week. the jet stream and cooler air comes in from the north. however, by the time we head into the weekend that heat, the 90s and the triple digits, building back into the northern plains so no relief in sight at all for much of the south, in particular, the southern plains and, ann, keep in mind we're coming up on what's typically the hottest time of the year and that's july. >> thanks for the warning. in washington, where the prospect of a major deal on raising the debt ceiling and fix the country's budget problems
seems to be slipping away. chief white house correspondent chuck todd now joins us. chuck? >> reporter: ann, it wasn't the heat, it was the debt ceiling here in washington. lots of heated rhetoric. it got ugly and even a bizarre proposal in congress that could be a back doorway to solve the crisis. here's the president in an interview with cbs about social security checks. >> i cannot guarantee that those checks go out on august 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue because there may simply not be the money in the coffers. >> but a meeting just ended with those congressional leaders here at the white house and they have opened their minds up to this back-up plan idea. it came from the mind of mitch mcconnell, the senate republican leader which essentially would create instead of a vote of approval on debt ceiling, it would become a vote of disapproval to stop it. it's odd, but everybody seems signed on to it. it's the new backup plan, ann.
>> chuck todd in washington. thanks so much for your reporting on the story. now let's turn to the phone hacking scandal in britain where each day brings fresh revelations. tonight, scotland yard's lead investigator says there may be as many as 4,000 victims in the case against rupert murdoch's media empire and among them, former prime minister gordon brown who says his family's privacy was violated by a story that hit very close to home. stephanie gosk has the report from london. >> reporter: the british public wants answers. rupert murdoch and top executive, rebecca brooks have all been asked to testify next week before a parliament committee. the powerful trio have yet to agree but "news international" the subsidiary that ran "the news of the world" is already defending itself against the latest allegations. in an interview on the bbc today, former prime minister, gordon brown, accused "news international" of employing known criminals to dig up personal information.
>> i'm shocked. i'm genuinely shocked to find this happened because of the links with criminals. >> reporter: in 2006, a murdoch paper run at the time by rebecca brooks reported that brown's newborn son has cystic fibrosis. now brown questions the methods the paper used to get that information. tonight a statement from "news international" says the story "the sun" ran is from a member of the public whose family has also experienced cystic fibrosis. also on the defensive, investigators from scotland yards who face accusations that police accepted bribes from reporter. >> an organization of 50,000 people and we've always said from time, some day they'll -- >> reporter: with the investigation widening daily here in the uk, some are wondering if the scandal will spread to murdoch's media holdings in the u.s. >> we need to find out,
affirmatively, look into whether or not american citizens had their phones hacked into by any murdoch journalists. >> reporter: for now the only evidence is here in britain but proving to be enough to tarnish the image of a worldwide media empire. stephanie gosk, nbc news, london. in afghanistan tonight a lot of unanswered questions about the shocking assassination of president hamid karzai's half-brother. a man who was also a powerful figure in his own right, shot in cold blood at his home by a trusted associate. we have the story from kabul. >> reporter: hi, ann. ahmed wali karzai, he was lured and killed in his home by a trusted security guard and confidant named sardar muhammad. out of a meeting and shot in cold blood. he was shot and killed by other security guards. he used the trust to lure him out of a meeting and shoot him in cold blood.
he was also shot and killed by other security guards. the taliban have claimed responsibility saying they had been working with the killer for, quote, some time." awk was an infamous power broker in kandahar province, a key province and the spiritual home of the taliban and considered to be a part of the drug trade but u.s. and nato officials say they needed him, a stabilizing figure in an otherwise unstable region. his death leaves behind a power vacuum and is considered a big victory for the taliban, ann? >> thank you so much. another milestone up in space today as two residents of the international space station stepped outside to retrieve a broken ammonia pump so it could be returned to earth for examination. it was the final space walk of the american shuttle era. meantime, the landing plan for the atlantis has changed and it's now scheduled to touch down before dawn on july 21st at the kennedy space center. poignant moments in palm desert, california, where representatives of the current and previous first families attended a memorial service for betty ford, who died friday at the age of 93. our own brian williams is there
and we'll hear from him in a bit. but nbc's lee cowan joins us, lee? >> reporter: hey, ann. this is the first of two tributes in two different states for betty ford and in keeping with her very take-charge attitude she was very specific about how she wanted to be remembered. to that end, both politics and her passion for people were front and center. >> reporter: for a first lady admired for being so public, betty ford's final trip up the steps of the church where she worshipped for more than 30 years was ever so private. ♪ preceded by her four children her casket made its way up the aisle in st. margaret's episcopal church. the same place where the nation bid her husband farewell, too. >> we remember before you this day our sister, betty. >> reporter: the largest gathering of first ladies since then. michelle obama and hillary clinton. rosalind carter and nancy
reagan, who was escorted by president george w. bush. but it was rosalind carter, once a political rival then long-time family friend who, perhaps, summed her up best. >> someone who was willing to do things a bit differently than they had been done before. someone who had the courage and grace to fight fear, stigma and prejudice wherever she encountered it. >> reporter: betty ford instructed journalist kokie roberts not to just eulogize her life but the way politics used to be. >> i wouldn't be at all surprised if she timed her death to make sure that she could convey the message of comedy during this week when it seems so badly needed. >> reporter: but of all her accomplishments, the betty ford center remains, perhaps, her biggest legacy. and tonight those on its board gave her credit for saving millions. >> if you can do it, all the pressures on you every day, well, in the white house, for goodness sake, living with the
leader of the free world, maybe we could also get some relief. >> reporter: the nation's 40th first lady remains an inspiration to a nation she shared both her triumphs and her struggles. and the public will be able to pay their respects to betty ford tonight. her body is lying in repose until midnight tonight at the church and tomorrow her body will be flown to michigan where she'll be buried next to her husband at the gerald ford library in grand rapids. >> lee, thank you very much. brian williams when we come back, from the memorial service with reflections on this day. and later, his exclusive interview with today's recipients of the medal of honor. an army ranger who put his life on the line for his brothers in arms.
us from palm desert, california. brian? >> ann what was so impressive and so appropriate was the sweep of history. i sat there realizing that in the six rows in front of me wb were representatives by either bloodline or marriage of every president of the united states going back to john f. kennedy. so appropriate and so interesting to see members of the ford family. for our generation and above in this country we watched them grow up. we watched their family with great fascination. this president who turned out to be such a noble and thoroughly decent american and this american icon that he married. this towering figure in this country named betty ford who did so much to destigmatize alcoholism, drug addiction and treatment and breast cancer as well. appropriately remembered today in a warm, family-based service. feel terrible for the family
they have to go do this again and go through these emotions in the days to come. such a towering figure should be appropriately remembered. that started today here in palm desert. >> thanks, brian williams. well put. coming up next, a marine who needed a date for the ball considers a longshot and takes it on youtube.
>> hey, mila. i'm sergeant moore. but you can call me scotty. i want to take a moment out of my day to invite you to the marine corps ball. november 18th. it was a longshot but he took it. a marine serving in afghanistan needed a date for the marine corps ball so on a bet with a fellow marine, he made a youtube video and asked his favorite actress, mila kunis to go with him.
mila kunis says she's trying to make it work and it turns out she might have a filming conflict but she'll try to make it work. i always thought i had a chance, said sergeant scott moore, and sometimes, he said, that's all you need. the name sherwood schwartz may not ring a bell but his television creations including "gilligan's island" and the "brady bunch" a culture of americans who grew up in the '60s and '70s. he started out in radio writing jokes for bob hope and red skelton and found sitcom immortality in television. critics panned his shows but audiences loved them. "gilligan's island" lasted four seasons and so did "the brady bunch." both live on in memories and reruns. sherwood schwartz died today in los angeles. he was 94 years old. when we come back, brian williams talks to the medal of honor recipient. the president said was the stuff heroes are made of.
>> reporter: ann, that's right. leroy petry wanted to be a soldier growing up in new mexico and he succeeded. u.s. army ranger, six tours of duty in afghanistan. two in iraq. we sat down in washington with him in washington a few weeks back for an exclusive interview prior to him receiving the medal of honor. it was for an action in afghanistan in a courtyard in the middle of a firefight. a grenade lands next to him and his young soldiers and he did what instinct told him to do, picked up the grenade, threw it and lost his hand and part of his arm as a result. as you'll see, he has the modesty that all of the now 85 living recipients of this medal possess. >> i remember it vividly. it was -- i sat up, i grabbed it and it was like somebody had taken a circular saw and just taken it off right there and i remember the smells. i could smell the burning of the flesh.
it was unreal. but, again, another weird thought went into my mind. i looked at it and i said, where's the hollywood square? why isn't this thing spraying out a country mile? >> you've seen your share of movies? >> oh, yeah. the next thing that kicked in was reality and my training. got to get this under control. i grabbed a tourniquet. we keep one readily accessible. i got on the radio and called up for help and let them know the situation. and then i checked on my guys. had that gone off it would have been a different story. >> you and them? >> yes, sir. >> everybody in movies calls a wound, any wound, a ticket out. a ticket home. in my experience, with guys like you, it's a bummer because guys
wired like you want to stay in the fight. >> yes. >> was that your situation? >> that was the hardest part. one of our first sergeants that was with us who was on the ground he said, hey, come on, we're going to get you out of a here. i kind of hit his arm away and i said, you're not taking me anywhere until you get the s.o.b.s. the worst thing i thought about was i didn't want to see another casualty. we lost a guy that day, christopher gathercole. he was coming there to help us and i felt helpless because i couldn't stay with him. everybody was cheering me on saying -- hey, you're going to be all right. right there by my side. they're saying, hey you saved us. don't worry about it. it was tough. >> reporter: were you right-handed? >> i was. that was the challenge, writing left-handed. but my son, who was 5 at the time -- >> you probably have the same penmanship.
>> he was getting ready for kindergarten so i was doing it with him. our abcs and stuff. >> so when people approach you and people stick out their hand and shake your hand do you say -- it's okay. >> no. i enjoy that part. i don't tell people. if they don't notice it and then they grab it and they're like -- i like the jump i get out of them. everyone says, how do you have such a great attitude? and a lot of people i've met that were wounded, they have great attitudes, too, but at the same time, a lot of these men and women, their limbs or their bodies are hurt or severed, whatever. they have their bodies stolen from them, almost. driving down the road and they don't see the enemy. it's just -- you wake up or you're laying there and you're disfigured now and -- i had the choice to do what i did and
fully mentally knowing about what the dangers were. and it was just my choice. >> reporter: u.s. army ranger sergeant first class leroy petry, nation's newest living recipient of the medal of honor. back to you, ann, in new york. >> thank you so much. that's our broadcast for this tuesday evening. for brian williams and from all of us here at nbc news, thank you and good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com